The 8 Best Outdoor Stereos for the Beach, Camping and Adventure in 2017

Take your tunes with you wherever you go

While most buyers choose Bluetooth speakers for their connectivity and convenience, some buyers are looking for those units that can survive a week in the wild or at the beach. When it comes to choosing the best for your money, you want a speaker that can take on every environment and just keep playing hit after hit. These speakers generally have an Ingress Protection Rating (IP), which rates how well they can stand up to any intrusion from dust, water or even drops. Whether it’s a wet and wild adventure or a relaxing hike on a trail, these speakers will have you singing along until the batteries run out.

Capable of connecting to three mobile devices at one time and with more than 20 hours of battery life on a single charge, the waterproof JBL Charge 3 is well worth a look. Rated IPX7, you can rest comfortably that the Charge 3 can be used at the beach or near a pool without worrying about accidentally frying the speaker. The IP rating itself allows the Charge 3 to be fully submerged in a meter of water for up to 30 minutes without damage. In other words, it’ll survive an accidental drop in the ocean but don’t leave it there indefinitely.

At 1.76 pounds and 3.43 x 9.09 x 3.48 inches, the JBL is a big speaker, but with big size comes big sound; it's capable of filling a large room with booming sound, but it is best experienced within 20 feet. As the JBL can stand both horizontally and vertically, the sound is best in the horizontal orientation where you'll find just the right amount of bass no matter what genre of music you play. Additionally, there’s a built-in microphone for use as a speakerphone with mic quality that will leave many callers surprised you’re using a standalone speaker.

The Braven 105 portable speaker is an ideal addition to your outdoor gear. First off, this speaker is waterproof with an IPX7 rating, which means it can survive being submerged in water up to one meter for up to 30 minutes. Whether it’s caught in the rain or accidentally spilled on, this won’t have any issue handling the elements when you’re camping or relaxing at the beach.

This speaker only weighs seven ounces, so it won’t add much weight to your backpack or travel duffel bag. On top of its weather resistance, the Braven 105 is great for outdoor use because of its flexible design that lets you prop it up on a hinge (good for parties!) or strap it onto a bike using the included mount. It also has eight hours of playback time on a single charge, which means you could jam out all day before recharging.

There’s portable and then there’s the UE Roll 2, which at .73 pounds, makes it lighter than a can of soda. The UE Roll 2 is small at 1.6 x 5.3 x 5.3 inches and, fortunately, the small size doesn’t affect the audio quality or wireless range. UE takes the Roll 2 up a notch with a wireless range that extends to almost 100 feet before audio will start cutting out. As for the audio quality itself, the smaller size means less bass response overall, but mids and highs sound great and make this a perfect poolside or beach companion. Although there’s no dedicated bass driver here, there’s a two-inch main driver and two smaller .75-inch tweeters, which sound great at both low and high volume with little distortion overall.

The overall design is sleek; the grille itself is tough featuring a nylon weave texture that seems both durable and solid all while not being considered a “rugged” speaker. As for fighting the elements, the UE Roll 2 features an IPX7 rating, which allows sustaining submersion in water for 30 minutes at a depth of one meter before worrying about losing your investment. Unfortunately, the smaller size does mean a slightly smaller battery, but UE still manages to crank out an impressive nine hours of life before it requires a recharge. An included bungee cord allows you to strap it to a bike or backpack and there is an available smartphone app for controlling the party from a distance.  

In a world of tough and rugged Bluetooth speakers, Fugoo's Sport XL stands a little above the rest of the crowd. At first glance online, it looks like it might be a large and unwieldy speaker, but at just 4.21 x 12.04 x 4.72 inches, it's far from large. And the best bit? Thirty-five hours of battery life make it perfect for in-the-wild camping or hiking when recharging opportunities are far and few between.

Inside the not-so-large body are two 1.1 inch tweeters, two 1.5-inch woofer drivers and two 1.7 x 2.1-inch passive radiators. Altogether, the Sport makes for a big sound with a design that spreads the music out around a room or in the wild if you're outdoors around a campfire. The inclusion of separate woofers and tweeters are rare in the Bluetooth speaker world, which makes the Sport even more attractive with its bright and clear sound, even at high volumes.

Beyond audio quality, it's rated at IPX67, so the Sport can be submerged in up to three feet of water for more than 30 minutes. It's rated to fall more than five feet onto a gravel surface without skipping a beat, and it’s crush-proof, too.

There's no shortage of great-sounding Bluetooth speaker options, but the the UE Boom 2 offers remarkable sound, with two 1.75-inch active drivers and three-inch passive radiators. Bass levels are both solid and have just enough of a beat to not feel overdone (and you can manually control it via an available iPhone and Android smartphone app, so you can reduce the treble to find the perfect pitch and sound). While it won't fill a whole house with sound, that's not the intent of Bluetooth speakers at this size and so long as you don't crank the volume all the way up to 100 percent, you'll find no distortion from the Boom 2.

The IPX7-rated Boom 2 offers waterproofing up to 30 minutes and three feet of depth before there's a risk to the internal hardware. The IP rating also includes shockproof certification making the Boom 2 the perfect add-on to your gear for a party on the beach. Available in a slew of colors, the Boom offers up to 15 hours of battery life and up to 100 foot Bluetooth wireless range. As a bonus, UE also included "say it to play it" with Siri and Google Now integration for Android and iPhone smartphone owners.

In the "perfect for outdoors" Bluetooth speaker space, "budget" is a relative term since there's still added cost for something more durable and rugged than the typical Bluetooth speaker. At just 6.49 ounces and 3.7 x 1.6 x 5.5 inches in size, the JBL Clip 2 is both budget and backpack-friendly, so don't let its wallet-friendly pricing fool you. The Clip 2 features IPX7 waterproof protection with 30 minutes of protection in three feet of water. The all-plastic housing features a nylon grill covering and a built-in carabiner that allows you to connect the Clip 2 to pretty much anything. The integrated 3.5mm cable can connect to devices sans Bluetooth for a quick connection without paired devices.

Roughly the size of a hockey puck, the Clip 2 punches well above its pay grade when it comes to sound. Realistically, the Clip 2 sounds best when its volume is amped up; softer volumes come in a little thinner and flatter. Regardless of volume, the audio quality is distortion-free and has plenty of warmth with the highs.

Beyond volume, JBL offers more than eight hours of battery life on the Clip 2 and based on numerous online reviews, that number very well may be conservative with multiple users seeing more than 10 hours of use. If you're looking for something inexpensive, but still durable enough for the pool or beach, the Clip 2 is the best budget-friendly Bluetooth speaker available.

Scosche's BoomBottle+ offers one of the most unique designs of any portable Bluetooth speaker (even if it doesn't appear so at first glance). Scosche designed the BoomBottle+ to look like a water bottle, which will have you wondering why until you realize that it fits into virtually every cupholder. Whether on your bike, car or in a third-party cupholder, the BoomBottle+ is designed to fit into any pre-designed cupholder and that's what makes it so special. Ultimately, the Scosche design is perfect for hiking with a backpack that has a webbed cupholder. Just slip this speaker in and let the tunes distract you. Add in IP67 weatherproofing and a durable design that can additionally fit into any 1/4-inch thread bottom on a camera tripod and you've got even more reasons to give the BoomBottle+ a look.

However, the cylindrical design does more than just fit into cupholders. It also offers 360-degrees of sound with two 50mm drivers and a passive subwoofer. While its creative design may be the main attraction, there's a big sound that carries through all the way to full volume with no distortion with the omnidirectional speakers. Outdoor mode improves on the already fantastic sound by giving a boost to the mids and highs for even more impressive audio. The 15-hour battery life offers enough for juice for a full day’s worth of hiking. The BoomBottle+ can also double as a charger for your portable devices with any USB cable.

With four massive audio drivers, a rugged exterior and IPX5 weatherproofing, the BRAVEN BRV-XXL is party-ready despite its small size. Built to withstand any weather condition, the rugged build of the XXL is designed to be completely water resistant, dirtproof and sandproof. The Bluetooth pairing allows connected devices to roam up to 33 feet away from the XXL before audio quality starts to drop off. Speaking of audio quality, the 4 HD audio drivers and one subwoofer offer plenty of sound to fill a large room.

With powerful sound, you need a powerful battery and the XXL doesn’t disappoint. It has a battery capable of 14 hours of uninterrupted playtime. As for the design around the battery, it screams utilitarian and doesn’t make any effort to hide the fact that packaging was likely a secondary focus. At 18 pounds and measuring 20.25 x 8.25 x 9.5-inches, it’s not light, but with a handle and shoulder strap, the XXL becomes far easier to transport from one party location to the next. Realistically, if space is restricted while traveling, the XXL might need to stay home, but if you’re taking a trip that requires big sound and roughing the elements, the Braven XXL is ready to go.


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